Our Special Operations Team has travelled to Monaco to help record and reveal the underwater world around the Principalities’ coastline, this new assignment is a collaboration with the Oceanographic Institute and Google.
Whilst in the area our survey took in the Larvotto Marine Reserve and the waters around the Principality of Monaco, in fact we have surveyed 2km of coastline here and have collected 2000 new panoramas that will be used to get a better understanding of the region. The Museum Océanographique de Monaco even invited us to take 360º photography inside one of their Aquaria.
It's the first time we've used the SVII-S camera in Europe and that has presented some new challenges for the team - thicker wetsuits and less natural sunlight mean we need to re-callibrate our cameras (and our own thermostats) for this new environment.
Richard Vevers, Project Director, said this to a French TV station:
“This pilot survey in Monaco is an exciting development for the project as it’s our first survey in Europe’s temperate waters. Although our cameras were developed to record and reveal the coral reefs of the world, they actually work in most marine environments and there has been a lot of interest in us expanding the survey to other environments. We are hoping this pilot survey will lead to extensive surveying of other important European locations.”
The images will be premiered at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco on a “Liquid Galaxy" display installed by Google. Liquid Galaxy is a simulator with seven screens arranged in a circle, giving a sense of immersion in the marine world. Later, it will be seen online as a virtual dive at the Google Maps gallery. The museum will use our imagery to form the basis of a number of wide ranging educational programmes
Monaco was a great location for our temperate water pilot surveys as it has such a powerful history with underwater exploration. Monaco has been the laboratory of some of the greatest ocean explorers: Prince Albert 1st, referred as the Prince of the seas for his unconditional love for oceans, founded the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 1910 and the most famous underwater explorer of them all, Jacques Cousteau worked passionately in the area and at the same museum in his time.
It is also the place which is known as the starting point for the invasion of the Caulapia Taxifolia within the whole Mediterranean region, this algae has caused the massive death of the native Posidonia seagrass. Today many efforts are made to protect the Posedonia (which is often referred to as the "lungs of the Mediterranean") and it is hoped that our visual data will help researchers understand the relationship between these two species and all the life that lives around them.
You can take a virtual dive in Monaco here.